Detroit Lakes students elect Trump in mock election
The first ever statewide mock election for high schools in Minnesota included Detroit Lakes High School.
282 schools participated in Minnesota Students Vote 2016, a campaign that "helps students discover the importance of elections and the power of their votes in the democracy" according to sos.state.mn.us.
The lowest voting rate is among the younger voters, so Steve Simon, Minnesota Secretary of State, came up with an inter-connected experience where all students in Minnesota got the chance to vote.
"Not only does this campaign help the students get familiar with the voting ballot, but also lets them think of choices and what other students vote throughout the state," says Simon.
Each high school in Minnesota was allowed to do elections their own way, either setting up a polling place or letting the students vote whenever possible.
Voting for the students of Detroit Lakes happened during Laker Time on Monday, October 17. For some students who didn't have Laker Time they voted anytime they were free.
Students, who donned "I voted" stickers afterwards, voted for the presidential and vice presidential candidates.
The state provided everything, including the stickers and the ballots. "It was simple," says Kalan Malchow, a social studies teacher who was in charge of the DL mock elections.
"I think this is getting good habits early," says Simon."It makes the students more likely to vote and make a lifelong habit of it."
"My hope for this is to be long term, letting the students be active in the elections for the rest of their lives," added Malchow, who hopes to do the mock elections again in 2020, where a polling place will be set up. Their first time doing it at DLHS had a time crunch, because MEA and teacher workforce were in the middle of voting days.
Although most the students who voted in the mock elections won't be 18 when the real election day is, it teaches them about voting in general.
"It gives the students some ownership," says Malchow. "It gives them a voice and lets the students watch the elections and think about the difference between them as students and the real voters."
Statewide results for the Students Vote 2016 mock election are scheduled to be announced on November 1—one week before Election Day.
But the results in Detroit Lakes are: 285 votes for Donald Trump, 117 votes for Hillary Clinton, and 65 write-in votes - 14 of which were for Bernie Sanders.